Magical Thinking: Isaac Bashevis Singer’s novel, The Magician of Lublin with Anita Norich

Presented on Zoom, April 13, 2021

The Magician of Lublin is the story of a performer who, like Houdini, is adept at getting himself out of seemingly impossible situations including affairs with several women, poverty, criminality, and more. I. B. Singer wrote in Yiddish under the name Yitzhak Bashevis (and other pen names), an adaptation of his mother’s name taken in order to distinguish himself from his brother, I. J. Singer, who brought him to the US in 1935. By the time he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1978, his work had been translated into dozens of languages. The Yiddish novel Der kuntsnmakher fun Lublin was serialized in Forverts in 1959 and published in English in 1960.

In this talk, Professor Anita Norich explores the questions Bashevis Singer poses in the novel about sin, evil, faith, and the choices available to Jews living in the modern world.

GREAT JEWISH BOOKS LECTURE | Magical Thinking: Isaac Bashevis Singer’s novel, The Magician of Lublin with Anita Norich

About the Speaker:
Anita Norich is collegiate professor emerita of English and Judaic studies at the University of Michigan. She is the author of Writing in Tongues: Yiddish Translation in the 20th Century (2013); Discovering Exile: Yiddish and Jewish American Literature in America During the Holocaust (2007); and The Homeless Imagination in the Fiction of Israel Joshua Singer (1991); translator of Kadya Molodovsky’s Fun Lublin biz Nyu York (2019); and co-editor of Languages of Modern Jewish Cultures: Comparative Perspectives (2016), Jewish Literatures and Cultures: Context and Intertext (2008), and Gender and Text in Modern Hebrew and Yiddish Literatures (1992). She translates Yiddish literature and teaches, lectures, and publishes on a range of topics concerning modern Jewish cultures, Yiddish language and literature, Jewish American literature, and Holocaust literature.